Sites that I Found Interesting

I haven’t had time to write much, but these are useful sites and I want to comment.

In Praise of Memorizing Poetry — Badly begins:

Mistakes are instructive. In particular, they can become a form of analysis, as, for example, in sports or music, when getting something a little bit wrong leads to improvement in technique or understanding.

It is an intriguing proposition and one that would be interesting to discuss with students.

Shakespeare’s Authorship

This is both a commentary on the movie Anonymous and on the Oxford-theory camp of Who Wrote the Plays?

While I’m not as zealous as the author is, I’ve often wondered if Shakespeare really wrote the texts, the information in the article is fascinating.

The lie about Shakespeare’s literacy. In the opening, our fancy-pants British narrator (Derek Jacobi) tells us disdainfully that Shakespeare only had a “grammar school” education, disingenuously concealing the fact that the typical “grammar school” of the time, such as the one in Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford, had graduates who had learned how to translate and compose verse in Latin. Can you compose verse in Latin? How many American poets can? How many Oxfordians can even read Latin? As Simon Schama, the British historian, put it recently:

“Grammar school,” which means elementary education in America, was in fact a cradle of serious classical learning in Elizabethan England. By the time he was 13 or so, Shakespeare would have read (in Latin) works by Terence, Plautus, Virgil, Erasmus, Cicero, and probably Plutarch and Livy too. One of the great stories of the age was what such schooling did for boys of humble birth.

(But, of course, no one of humble birth, say the Oxfordian birthers, could possibly be as learned as they.)

Then the movie contradicts itself. Later on, we’re treated to a supposedly comic scene showing that Shakespeare didn’t even have a grammar-school education, however you define it: He’s mocked by actors in his troupe as utterly illiterate. (I have a theory about why some otherwise distinguished actors buy into the Oxford conspiracy theory. Actors are notorious for their self-loathing and loathing of other actors and it must gall some of the weaker egos among them, the idea that a “mere” actor like Shakespeare could also be an incomparable author of the parts they play.)

Visual Communication through Web Design talks about testing design changes you make.

Expand Your Blog’s Reach on Inside Higher Ed

Vanderbilt U’s Center for Visual Thinking have things that I need to consider.

What have you read recently that you found interesting?

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